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tv   Nightline  ABC  March 28, 2017 12:37am-1:07am EDT

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this is "nightline." >> tonight. what happened in vegas? a mother of two found dead. her husband questioned. >> he was agitated, making threats to hurt herself. >> at first it was ruled a suicide, but her family wasn't buying it. they conducted their own investigation. >> what do you think? what makes sense? he killed her. >> with a million-dollar insurance policy involved, the new evidence police say points to foul play. plus the making of erika jayne. she's gone from pop star to reality star to "dancing with the stars." but before she was living the high life on "real housewives of beverly hills" -- >> i don't like bull [ bleep ]. and i think that's what you are. >> erika jayne was just a shy girl with big draeldeams. >> i was hid
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>> how she transformed into this larger-than-life persona that has propelled her to celebrity status. and backwards? ♪ is it worth it let me work it ♪ everybody knows that missy elliott can put her thing down and flip it but now a new generation of hip-hop fans is discovering how she reversed the verse in her song "work it." the secret behind her mysterious lyrics that's been hiding in plain sight. but first here tonight, the "nightline" 5. number one i
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♪ good evening. when an attorney and mother of two was found dead with pain pills and anti-freeze in her system, her death was ruled a suicide. but authorities say they have found new evidence pointing to her husband and now he is under the microscope. here is abc's matt gutman. >> reporter: even in sin city, a place where anything can happen, the story of attorney susan winter's death is jaw-dropping. >> a shocking allegation and fall from grace. >> a stunning reversal in a case that initially was ruled a suicide. >> reporter: the case now reopened as a murder. early on january 3rd, 2015 the 48-year-old part-time judge and full-time mother of two is rushed to the hospital from her suburban las vas
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a combination of pain pills and anti-freeze ravaging her body. susan dies later that day. her parents, avis and dan winters, devastated over the sudden loss. >> susan was a perfect daughter. we couldn't have hoped for a better daughter. >> she made the world better. >> reporter: her husband, brett dennis, a former football star and current psychologist, says in a deposition that he couldn't save susan from her demons. >> she would become angry, despondent, sometimes violent and physical. >> reporter: the day before her death he said it was more of the same. >> she was agitated, making threats to hurt herself. >> reporter: but her family back in oklahoma is convinced there's something even darker about the story coming out of the city of lights. >> chris, when you got that call and you heard the word "anti-freeze" -- >> i didn't even have to hear the anti-freeze. when mom said
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said, "what did he do to her?" >> reporter: they suspect susan's husband, even hiring a retired fbi agent to investigate him along with attorney tony scrow, who files a civil suit against brent. >> nothing tended to point toward susan taking her own life. >> what's stunning about this case is it seems it was closed. but many questions remain. if this was a suicide, why didn't susan leave a suicide note? and how would she have ingested anti-freeze hours after taking a possibly fatal dose of oxycodone? >> typically, if you have a suicide, you have the things that the person used to kill him or herself there. a gun, poison, pill bottles. sitting right next to the person who's died. in this case that wasn't there. and prosecutors believe that's because this wasn't a
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sgro compiles a nearly 50-page report containing potential evidence against brent including an alleged substance abuse problem fueled by his friendship with a man named jeffrey crosby. he'd been convicted of felony possession with intent to sell cocaine in the past. something brent admitted in a deposition last year. >> what was the mechanism through which you would purchase controlled substances from jeffrey? >> pay him cash and he would provide me substances. >> reporter: and brent may not have been the only one reaching out to jeffrey crosby. according to a police report, phone records show six calls and texts from susan's phone to crosby in the days before she died. >> why do you think she was calling him? >> she was going to turn him in and brent in. she wanted brent to stop, and she thought that would get him stopped. >> reporter: brent disputed that in his deposition. >> she said she was going to turn you in for using drugs.
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>> i don't have any recollection of that. >> what statements did she use when she threatened to discuss your drug use with the board that supervises you? >> honestly, i don't recall any threat of that nature. she just -- >> you just told me -- >> go ahead. >> reporter: brent's attorney says his drug problems are in the past. but her parents, who've known him for decades, are adamant. >> she was going to go to the psychology board and tell them what he was doing. >> so this is really the final showdown. >> yeah. >> reporter: brent and susan's marriage had hit a bump two years earlier, and they separated for a few months. and according to a police report, susan sought treatment for anxiety and depression throughout her marriage. problems she seems to hide from her family back in 2013. >> is it possible that there are things about susan you didn't know and that one of them was that she was so depressed that she might have been suicidal? >> yeah, there were things that we didn't know. she could have been in '13. she could have been. >> what about e
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>> i would not believe it at all. >> she bounced back very quick. >> she was happy. >> brent dennis referred our questions to his attorney, richard schonfeld. he says susan's family is simply in denial. >> we believe that the winters family has been unable to accept that susan winters' death was a suicide. it was deemed a suicide by the henderson police department. it was deemed to be a suicide by the clark county coroner's office. and they were unable to accept that fact. >> reporter: her family argues that susan had everything to live for. two beautiful daughters and a new job helping her parents with their string of sonic ham wurger franchises. she owned a share in the lucrative family business, netting her roughly $200,000 a year. susan also had a million-dollar life insurance policy that brent immediately collected. >> it is on the first business day that you contacted the life
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>> true. >> do you recall that? >> yes. >> she passed away on a saturday. he was on the phone with the insurance company around 9:30 in the morning on monday. >> reporter: schonfeld, brent's attorney, says a spouse has every right to file a life insurance claim without it being suspicious. >> i don't think that the actions when looked at in the totality of the circumstances raise any red flags whatsoever. >> reporter: he cites the children's support of their father as evidence of brent's innocence. >> mr. dennis has been the exclusive care provider for his two children for the last two years, with no issue. a loving, harmonious household. and he's very supportive of his children and they're very supportive of him. and i believe that that says a lot. >> reporter: not to the state of nevada, it doesn't. the district attorney has charged him with murder. leading to the summary suspension of his license to practice psychology. brent is currently out on bail and an upcoming preliminary hearing will determine if his case goes to trial. one potential weakness
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prosecution's case -- the coroner's original cause of death. >> the minute that coroner gets on the witness stand, the question's going to be excuse me, didn't you initially say this was a suicide? and that's exactly what the defense's argument is here. >> reporter: brent's attorney says he plans to plead not guilty. but for susan's family their verdict is already in. >> susan held all the cards in his world. she had the girls. she had money. what do you think? what makes sense? he killed her. >> does any part of you feel sorry for brent? >> how can you feel sorry for evil? i don't. >> nevada has a death penalty. but i pray he doesn't get it. death is too good. i'd like him to be punished for the rest of his life. >> reporter: for "nightline" i'm matt gutman in henderson, nevada. next, the real real housewife.
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superstar identity. ♪ let me work it and later, how did we miss it? what many fans are just discovering about the missy elliott song "work it." ♪ let me search it ♪ how hard i got to work it ♪ it's -- al after a dvt blood clot, i sure had a lot to think about. what about the people i care about? ...including this little girl. and what if this happened again? i was given warfarin in the hospital, but wondered, was this the best treatment for me? so i asked my doctor. and he recommended eliquis. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots and reduces the risk of them happening again. yes, eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots. eliquis also had significantly less major bleeding than the standard treatment. both made me turn around my thinking. don't stop eliquis unless your doctor tells you to. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding.
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if you had a spinal injection while on eliquis call your doctor right away if you have tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily ...and it may take longer than usual for bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots. plus had less major bleeding. both made eliquis the right treatment for me. ask your doctor if switching to eliquis is right for you. at red lobster's lobsterfestime. any of these 9 lobster dishes could be yours. so don't resist delicious new lobster mix and match or lobsterfest surf and turf because you won't have this chance for long.
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now i'm mashing these potatoes with my stick of butter... why don't you sit over here. something for everyone is awesome. find your awesome with the xfinity stream app. more to stream to every screen. ♪ before erika jayne was starring on "the real housewives" she was a real housewife. and though she lived in the lap of luxury she says she felt unsatisfied and never quite her true self. so she decided to do something about it.
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here's abc's abby boudreau. >> this is hollywood proper. this is where the magic happens. >> reporter: playing dressup with erika jayne. >> you want to put it on? >> do i want to put it on? >> oh, my god. >> reporter: can be a transformative experience. here at her pretty mess clubhouse. >> why we're here. the creative juices start flowing. >> reporter: a place where she teaches me her signature dance move. >> front, side, back, side. >> reporter: as seen on "real housewives" "beverly hills 90210." >> roll to the left. >> reporter: her latest song, "expensive," an anthem for how erika jayne lives her life. ♪ it's expensive to be me with her bombshell curves and platinum hair, erika jayne is more than just a real housewife of beverly hills. >> because i don't like bull [ bleep ] and that's what think you are. >> reporter: now she's heating up
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with the stars." >> i think that my life could not be any better. it's pretty incredible. >> reporter: but before there was erika jayne, the sexy persona on stage, there was erika gerardi, a doting mother and the wife to a high-powered attorney. >> i had everything that you want. every material object. everything. but inside my core i still wasn't satisfied. >> reporter: and this is when about ten years ago erika jayne was born. a sultry temptress without limitations. empowering women of all ages. >> i just don't see those limitations in life. like someone said to me, how do you feel about dancing against simone biles, she's 20 years old? i said i don't want to be 20 years old anymore. i'm happy being 45. women my age are valuable, and we have a lot more life to live and so much more to give. all of those old rules, they've been broken. >> yeah. >> that's old way of thinking
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star still considers herself a smalltown girl. and admits she still struggles with insecurities. despite the fame and fortune. >> i think that i suffer from what every woman suffers from, which is never being pretty enough, never being thin enough, never being enough, never being smart enough. you can really whip yourself into a frenzy about all the things you that don't have instead of all the great things that you do have. >> reporter: when erika turned 35, she felt something was missing. >> i felt like i was just not being myself. i felt like i was hiding. >> who were you hiding from? >> i was hiding from me. i was hiding from sparkle and magic and fun and fearlessness and music and dance and creative magic. >> reporter: did you know that she was inside of you this whole time? >> no, no. >> reporter: really? >> i just knew i had feelings. i knew i had thoughts. i knew i had things i wanted to say. listen, i'm rebellious. okay? i always have been. and erika jayne is a little bit of a rebel too.
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>> a little bit. ♪ ♪ i wanna get crazy >> reporter: she says her anxiety gave way when she transformed into erika jayne. >> it wasn't like overnight i became this like fearless bad-ass that said you know, what i'm going to just jump out here on stage and do whatever i want. that was a slow process. but what can i say? it's what i created. >> reporter: erika showed us around her pasadena estate. inside her closet -- >> these are -- i love short shorts. i'm from the south. okay? daisy dukes. come on. i love my daisy dukes. >> reporter: her style and sense of humor always center stage. >> yeah, those are fun. >> reporter: those are fun. and you can walk in them? >> yeah, i can. i can do lots of stuff in them. how do you think i got them? >> reporter: sharing that signature wit, her husband of nearly 20 years, tom girardi.
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restaurant. she was his waitress. >> and he asked you out or did you ask him out? >> i think i gave him my number and i said did you know i was single? and he called. >> reporter: of course he called. tom, 33 years her senior. >> a lot of people wonder about the age difference. has it ever been a factor for you? >> i think you have to look at two people and how they view the world and how they view life. we have much more in common than not. and we see life the same way. we enjoy each other. >> we're the same. in terms of how we look at life and everything. we're exactly the same. >> was she a good waitress? >> she was terrific. she was, really. >> really? >> yes. i think she was after a good tip. >> are you proud? >> oh, yeah. i'm so proud of her. proud of her about everything. >> reporter: another grounding force in her life, her
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a way to define stillness in her hectic life. in fact, she and tom built this chapel inside their own home. >> i felt like i needed some sort of -- not religion in my life but i felt like i needed a place to come and pray. >> could you imagine living your life without this kind of wealth? >> yeah, i could. i wouldn't want to. but i can. >> what would that look like? >> small, er. i don't know. less clothes. >> reporter: the man behind so much of the erika jayne glam, her friend and creative director mikey minden. >> it takes really -- >> a gay village. when you have an idea on paper it's just like a nod to where you want to go. but then to actually see it come to life on your muse and client and friend, it's just the best feeling. >> your muse. >> i've been called a lot of things lately. muse is good. thanks, babe. >> reporter: their teamwork making erika's dam
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this concert in mikonos. wealthy or not, erika jayne is a dreamer. >> i dream big, and so there's a lot of stuff to do. you know, i like to be busy and i love to continuously create and set goals. i'm not going to tell you what they are. >> reporter: for "nightline" i'm abby boudreau in hollywood. ♪ expensive to be me next, the internet goes wild over a hidden gem in missy elliott's 2002 song "work it." ♪ let me work it ♪ i put my thing down flip it and reverse it ♪ ♪ it's [ reverse lyrics ] ♪ i know, we need to talk about this. it's time. it is a big decision for us... let's take the $1000 in cash back. great! yeah, i want to get one of those gaming chairs with the speakers. oh, you do? that's a surprise...
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♪ and finally here tonight, nobody can turn a phrase like missy elliott. ♪ is it worth it let me work it ♪ ♪ i put my thing down flip it and reverse it ♪ >> it's been 15 years since missy elliott first released her hit song "work it." from the amas in 2003 -- ♪
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my thing down flip it and reverse it ♪ to her surprise super bowl halftime performance in 2015. ♪ let me search it there's no question that missy's 2002 track has proved timeless. but a recent tweet about the song's catchy hook -- ♪ [ reverse lyrics ] ♪ from the hip-hop star herself has sent the internet into a frenzy. missy took a moment to shout out the fans who recently accepted that the widely accepted mumbling that followed was more than just gibberish. the rapper confirming that the lyrics were literally reversed. social media erupted this weekend as fans announced their surprise over the mysterious lyrics. as for the missy diehards, they were less than impressed with how long it took so many people to realize. one fan even tweeting this gif of judge judy saying, "wow, it really took y'all this long to figure out what missy elliott was saying?" 15 years later and it looks like the cas
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timely been solved. now could somebody please tell me what young thug has been saying? it will probably not surprise you when i tell you that one of my much younger colleagues sent me that line. thank you for watching abc news tonight. as always we're online 24/7 at abcnews.com and on our "nightline" facebook page. thanks again for watching and good night. >> hey everyone, thanks for joining us for whiz kids week. we've got some of america's best young students here today. they may know their way around a final exam, but they've never been tested quite like this. this is "who wants to be a millionaire." [cheers and applause] [dramatic music] ♪ welcome to whiz kids week on "who wants to be a millionaire." [cheers and applause]
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today's whiz kid was the arkansas state quiz bowl mvp not once, but twice, and got a perfect score on the english portion of the act. he's 14 years old. from springdale, arkansas, please welcome sojas wagle. [cheers and applause] sojas, how you doing, buddy? >> good, how are you? [dramatic music] ♪ >> so you're the, uh, bowl champ twice. >> yes. >> the mvp, you-- perfect score on the act english portion? >> yes. >> that's pretty impressive. so tell me something good you've done academically. i'm just kidding. [laughter] quiz bowl, for everyone that doesn't know, that's like the super bowl of...quizzing for adults and kids. >> um, yeah, i think mostly it's for kids. and what it is, is different schools, they have different teams, and they compete against each other. and it's about trivia questions, kind of like this show, except it's in time. so whoever knows it-- not only knows it but who answers it the quickest...

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